How to fix your go-to-market (GTM) playbooks

5 minutes
to read
Written by
Bo Borland
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Strategy, operations, and enablement professionals are always looking for ways to improve their go-to-market (GTM) playbooks. The problem is that most of today's playbooks have some serious flaws. This post will identify six of the biggest playbook problems and offer recommendations to make your GTM more effective and efficient!

Problem #1: No playbooks for cornerstone growth motions

As any successful company knows, achieving long-term success takes more than just a great product. Businesses need a clear, modern GTM playbook to supercharge growth at scale. GTM Playbooks provide clarity and focus on what matters most for execution and success.

However, many companies lack a playbook with a collection of plays for every cornerstone growth area: sales, presales, marketing, customer success, product, services, recruiting, and talent management. Integrating plays sourced from a standard playbook methodology and language for each cornerstone growth motion will help your GTM run like a well-oiled machine at every stage of company growth.

Without it, companies are likely to waste enormous amounts of cash and resources as they scale their teams and strive for efficient growth, which can be the difference between success and failure in today's market.

Problem #2: Siloed playbooks

Most GTM playbooks are created in functional silos. These siloed playbooks are created by insular functions and integrated into siloed systems (E.g., CRM, Martech, HRIS, etc.). As a result, they are poorly understood across the entire GTM motion.

This lack of a collective understanding makes it difficult to identify friction points and achieve complete cross-functional alignment around the customer.

Companies must take a holistic approach to their GTM playbook development to avoid silo creation. This means all GTM teams should be involved in the development process with a modern view of hybrid-growth motions and a consistent playbook methodology well-integrated into the company's systems, operations and enablement programs.

Problem #3: Static playbook documents

Today playbooks are static, long-form documents or slide decks that are slow to build, tedious to maintain, and difficult to iterate. These playbooks quickly become outdated and ignored by teams because they are inadequate at addressing current market conditions.

One way to make playbooks more effective is to treat them like software products with a roadmap and lifecycle of continuous improvement. This means that they should be easily updated and versioned regularly with new products, markets, corner use cases, customer objections, and learnings from distributed teams.

First, take a close look at your current playbook. Are there any plays that are no longer relevant? If so, remove them. Next, update any outdated assets, actions, or work sequences. Finally, add any new plays, learnings, and workflows developed since the last time your playbook was updated and relaunch a new version with updated enablement and coaching.

Playbooks are most effective when they are highly visual and user-friendly. This means that they should be designed in a way that is easy to consume and visually appealing so that employees will want to use them. By making playbooks more user-friendly, companies can ensure that employees will actually execute the playbook instead of putting them on a shelf.

Problem #4: Top-down, one-size-fits-all playbooks

As a company grows and matures, its GTM playbook must evolve to meet the changing demands of distributed teams and their local markets. One-size-fits-all playbooks built on the efficiency of top-down organizational hierarchies are no longer effective when a company has globally distributed teams managing a more diverse product portfolio and GTM strategy.

New and different entry points and market segments require a flexible playbook adaptable to each team's unique needs. Such a playbook cannot be created or dictated from the top down; the teams must develop collaboratively based on their collective experience and expertise. This form of agile, distributed playmaking is most effective in today's dynamic business environment.

Problem #5: Playbook hacking

If you've ever been part of a distributed team, you know that hacks and workarounds are all too common. This is because teams lack the guidance and best practices to build and launch their own GTM plays. Without a governance methodology and guardrails, teams are left to their own devices, resulting in lower-quality assets, broken links, and inconsistent messaging and formatting.

This ultimately leads to frustration among customers and internal team members. Companies need to empower distributed teams with composable playbook building blocks to quickly compose new paths to revenue and the winning plays to get there.

With composability, playbooks can be dynamic and interactive so that users can easily navigate them. By making playbooks more dynamic, companies can ensure that new employees ramp up faster and that all employees can easily find the correct information at the right time and within the proper context.

Problem #6: Disconnected playbook workflow

Like most people, you probably have a playbook full of plays that never see the light of day. In fact, many playbooks are so disconnected from the data pipelines and workflows used by teams that they're little more than abstractions and theories.

This disconnect is an extremely expensive problem when running the play requires more manual effort because plays are not integrated with existing workflow applications like CRM, HRIS, ATS, or ticketing systems.  

But it doesn't have to be this way.  By connecting playbooks to data pipelines and automating playbook workflows, you can ensure that your playbook is embedded into a highly productive workflow and ready to be implemented in a repeatable way.


As the GTM landscape continues to shift, so too must the way that we develop and deploy our GTM strategies. To be successful, we must take a holistic approach to GTM playbook development, treating playbooks like software products.

This means ensuring that playbooks are highly visual and user-friendly, empowering teams with agile, distributed playmaking, creating composable playbook building blocks, making playbooks dynamic and interactive, connecting playbooks to data pipelines, and automating playbook workflows.

By adopting these playbook recommendations, companies can maximize their growth strategies while significantly increasing GTM efficiency.


Take a holistic approach to their GTM playbook development
Treat playbooks like software products
Ensure playbooks are highly visual and user-friendly
Empower teams with agile, distributed playmaking
Create composable playbook building blocks
Make playbooks dynamic and interactive
Connect playbooks to data pipelines
Automate playbook workflows

If you are ready to implement these techniques for your team or company quickly, register to attend our free webinar, Become a GTM playmaker: How the best teams run multiple plays for growth.

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